Leading SCS Physicians Emphasize the Benefits of Remote Monitoring Capabilities for Clinicians and Patients
For the first time, a panel of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) experts has developed best practices in the nascent field of remote SCS device management. The recommendations were recently published in Neuromodulation. When cardiac remote monitoring emerged in the early 2000s, an expert consensus responded by establishing a framework of principles to optimize the management of cardiovascular implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) in 2008. Similar wireless technology is available for the treatment of chronic pain patients, and the publication provides critical guidance on best practices to improve outcomes for patients with SCS. In their article, the experts acknowledge that remote monitoring and programming technologies can address challenges associated with in-person visits and improve patient care. "Currently, SCS patients do not always maintain adequate pain relief and may stop responding to treatment. Remote monitoring may improve the long-term success of SCS therapy in the real-world setting by providing faster identification and resolution of problems," said Peter Staats, Chief Medical Officer of National Spine & Pain Centers in Rockville, Maryland, USA and corresponding author, summarizing the advantages of the remote monitoring capabilities. The panel identified clinically relevant data metrics for remote monitoring and provided recommendations on their review, as well as on managing automatic, monitoring system notifications. Frequencies for periodically reviewing remote monitoring metrics are advised, though providers should tailor follow-up to individual patient needs. Reviews should occur separately from automatic monitoring system notifications. In addition, the authors stressed the importance of establishing appropriate provider reimbursement to account for time spent accessing, evaluating and acting upon remote monitoring by physicians and their care teams. Reimbursement should be designed to offset these costs and incentivize the adoption of services considered valuable to patients and the healthcare system. Today most SCS systems require an in-person session for clinicians or company representatives to monitor device data and program stimulation parameters. BIOTRONIK Neuro is the first and only manufacturer with the capability for daily, remote, device data monitoring in the field of SCS. The company recently launched its new Prospera™ SCS system based on its more than 20 years' experience in developing CIEDs and remote monitoring. Emerging clinical evidence from the BENEFIT-03 study also highlights the advantages of remote therapy management and the Prospera system. "Remote monitoring has become indispensable for cardiac implants. Our publication sets the stage to apply the same benefits to SCS devices," said Tim Deer, MD, physician at the Spine and Nerve Center of the Virginias in Charleston, West Virginia, USA and corresponding author. "BIOTRONIK Neuro is enabling these capabilities for us with their new Prospera SCS system. I’m excited about its great potential for more consistent care for patients and efficiency for healthcare providers."